Warning: Spoilers for a few movies ahead (one of which is almost 50 years old so I’m not sure if it counts)
I read an interesting little factoid about the ending of the movie The Graduate recently. If you’ve never seen the movie, here’s the TL;DR: guy is seduced by an older married woman and proceeds to fall in love with the woman’s daughter. After the family is torn apart by the affair, he eventually gate-crashes the daughter’s wedding to stop her from marrying someone else. The two of them run off together in to the sunset, boarding a bus that is going to take them far away.
After the camera focuses on the elated couple, the shot carries on, and they both look at each other, then away from each other, with growing uncertainty and unease as the reality of what they’ve done sets in. The ambiguity of the ending is melancholy and brilliant, and also a total accident because the director forgot to yell CUT and end the scene. At least, in this situation, keeping the camera rolling for that extra little bit made the movie what it was.
In some cases though, I’m sure it work the other way. There are plenty of movies which already had the perfect ending, and if the camera kept rolling for an extra minute or two, the whole movie would have been ruined. Take for example Inception (again, spoilers ahead). Does the top keep spinning, or doesn’t it? Honestly, if we knew the answer it would completely negate the experience. Much like the main character, we aren’t meant to know. We should be happy with the ending that was given, not the ending that was real.
So what movie do you think had a great ending that would be ruined if the cameras kept rolling?
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Critical Hit as an organisation.
Last Updated: August 31, 2016